The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) has confirmed the retrieval of a malfunctioning tsunami detection buoy, Station 23461, from the Andaman Sea and reassured the public that Thailand’s tsunami warning system remains fully operational.
The issue with the buoy, located approximately 340 kilometers northwest of Phuket, came to light on August 3 last year. The department sought the Royal Thai Navy’s assistance for its retrieval on August 7. A replacement buoy is currently being shipped from the United States and is expected to arrive in Thailand by March, with installation scheduled for November this year.
The DDPM stressed that the decommissioning of Station 23461 does not diminish the efficiency of the National Disaster Warning Centre (NDWC). The NDWC employs a comprehensive approach, utilizing data from multiple sources, including international earthquake monitoring in the Indian Ocean and data from other tsunami buoys in the region, as well as water level measurements from stations in India, Indonesia, and locally in Koh Mang in Phang Nga and Koh Racha Noi in Phuket.
This integrated system is designed to provide timely tsunami warnings to coastal provinces like Satun, Trang, Krabi, Phang Nga, Ranong, and Phuket. The importance of such a robust warning system was starkly highlighted by the tragic 2004 tsunami that devastated Thailand’s western and southern coastlines, including popular tourist destinations such as Phuket, Khao Lak, and Phi Phi Island, resulting in a significant loss of lives and widespread damage to infrastructure.